17 August 2013

Ellis suffers from supersymmetry delusion

In a recent interview, Ellis, the best known particle physicist from CERN, says:
Obviously we theorists working on supersymmetry are playing for big stakes. We're talking about dark matter, the origins of mass scales in physics, unifying the fundamental forces. You have to be realistic: if you are playing for big stakes, very possibly you're not going to win.
But he is wrong. He is not playing for big stakes. Helping the poor, avoiding that children die, making people happy: those are the big stakes. Supersymmetry has no relation to such big stakes.

Superymmetry is a diagnosis: it is a specific delusion common among particle physicists. Indeed, Ellis admits that most likely he will die before admitting that supersymmetry is wrong:
After you've run the LHC for another 10 years or more and explored lots of parameter space and you still haven't found supersymmetry at that stage, I'll probably be retired. It's often said that it's not theories that die, it's theorists that die.
 Ellis is hammering it in: he is suffering from supersymmetry delusion.

14 August 2013

A paradox: the theory of everything cannot be published

This is one of the best stories I heard. Imagine you have discovered the theory of everything, the TOE. You want to publish it and prove that it is correct. Of course, you need to show that it contains quantum theory, general relativity, quantum field theory, the standard model and so forth. For this proof, you will need at least a hundred pages, maybe much more. But no journal accepts such long papers. No problem, you think, "I'll publish it in pieces". No, that is not possible either, because then the "unsubstantiated" claim of a TOE cannot be made in any of the pieces - except maybe the last one. Then the earlier pieces have no interest and will not get published. 

Now we have another reason why no TOE is found in a journal so far.